Week 2: Start 'Em
Another season has started and another exciting first week of the NFL season has come and gone. As usual there were some big games by big stars: Adrian Peterson, Drew Brees, Reggie Wayne (to name a few); the return of big stars Tom Brady; then some disappointments like Steve Slaton, Matt Forte and Andre Johnson. Not to mention injuries to some players like Donovan McNabb and Anthony Gonzalez. So if you lost week 1, and were thinking of trading your whole team -- stop, take a deep breath. The season just started and you're only 0-1. Keep in mind that it was only week 1, and you can't get too excited after one week. But if you happen to have an injury to one of your starters or feel the need to make a small change to your lineup, here are a few guys you might want to consider starting this week.
Joe Flacco had a great season for a rookie QB, but he was only middle of the pack in terms of fantasy QB's as Baltimore tried to simplify the offense and go with more of a running attack. In week 1 Flacco had an uncharacteristic 43 pass attempts, completing 26 of them for 307 yards; 3 of those completions were for touchdowns while he only threw 1 interception. This week Baltimore flies across the country to play the San Diego Chargers in what should be a very tough battle for the Ravens. There is a good chance the Ravens will be coming from behind, meaning they have to throw the ball a lot. Look for another big week from Mr. Flacco.
Going into the season no one was sure how much action Darren Sproles would get in the back up role to Ladainian Tomlinson. That mostly depended on how well LT played and how healthy he was. After one week there are already questions about LT's health and about how often Sproles was on the field. Sproles might not be worthy of a start in some leagues -- depending on the scoring system -- but if you are in a point per reception and or a league that counts return yards, then Sproles can be started as a RB2 or flex on a weekly basis.
Chicago was another team with a lot of questions on offense. They have a great running back, and they acquired a great quarterback in Jay Cutler. The question that still remained going into week 1 was which receivers would step up and play the roles that Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal played in Denver (as the #1 and #2 targets of Cutler's passes)? If week 1 was any indication, Earl Bennett looks like he might be one of them. In the game vs. Green Bay, Bennett was targeted a team high 13 times, no one else was targeted more than 6 times. He caught 7 of those passes for 66 yards. Cutler and Bennett played with each other for one season in college at Vanderbilt and so they are familiar with how one another plays, making it easier for them to connect. After a very unproductive first year in the league, it looks like Bennett might be ready to put up numbers like Royal or Marshall were able to put up with Cutler in Denver.
When Greg Camarillo went down last season in week 11, Davone Bess took over as the Dolphin's possession receiver. While he doesn't score a lot or make many big plays, if you need a first down, he can be counted on to catch the ball. Going into week 1 no one was sure who would get the job of being the main man starting across the field from Ted Ginn Jr. In the first game of the season Bess was targeted 7 times, catching all 7 of the balls thrown to him for 54 yards -- all team highs in week 1. Bess is the perfect flex or bye week fill-in if you are in a point per reception league.
When Anthony Gonzalez went down with an injury, that left an opening for someone to step up and take his spot. The Colts had been hoping that they would be able to move Pierre Garcon to Marvin Harrison's old spot and move Gonzalez inside at some point this season, so don't be surprised if he gets the starting nod over Austin Collie. Garcon has come a long way since being a 6th round pick in 2008 out of a Division 3 college. Last week Garcon was targeted 5 times and caught 3 balls for 24 yards. The Colts still like to pass the ball a lot, so look for Garcon to become a regular target of Peyton Manning's passes. Garcon is definitely worth a look this week and in the long term as well.